The Agreement-Based Tests for Context Sensitivity
Languages of publication
In my paper, I present and discuss Cappelen and Lepore's context sensitivity tests, which appeal to says-that reports. In Relativism and Monadic Truth (2009) Cappelen and Hawthorne criticize those tests and propose agreement-based tests instead. I argue that such tests do not fare much better. The original Cappelen and Lepore's tests presupposed a minimal notion of says-that. One might postulate a parallel notion of "thin" agreement, according to which people agree that p if they all believe the minimal proposition that p. In this sense we might say - as opposed to what Cappelen and Hawthorne say - that A and B agree that Nicola is smart, even though A thinks that she is smart because she stands way back against strong servers, while B thinks that she is smart because she invested all her money in penny stocks. The paper ends with a critical gloss concerning the case in which Joe Coach predicates tall of people who are over six-foot-eight and Joe Normal, who applies tall to anyone over six-foot tall. I conclude that agreement and disagreement tests are poor indicators of context sensitivity, since their result depends on the prior theoretical standpoint one adopts.
- Borg, Emma. 2007. Minimalism versus contextualism. In: Gerhard Preyer and Georg Peter (eds.), Context-Sensitivity and Semantic Minimalism. New Essays on Semantics and Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 339-361.
- Bezuidenhout, Anne. 2002. Truth-conditional pragmatics. Philosophical Perspectives 16, Language and Mind: 105-134.
- Bezuidenhout, Anne. 2006. The coherence of contextualism. Mind and Language 21: 1-10.
- Cappelen, Herman and Ernie Lepore. 2005. Insensitive Semantics. A Defense of Semantic Minimalism and Speech Act Pluralism. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.
- Cappelen, Herman and Ernie Lepore. 2006. Response. Mind and Language 21: 50-73.
- Cappelen, Herman and John Hawthorne. 2009. Relativism and Monadic Truth. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Hawthorne, John. 2006. Testing for context-dependence. Philosophy of Phenomenological Research 73: 443-450.
- Kaplan, David. 1989. Demonstratives. In: Joseph Almog, Howard K. Wettstein and John Perry (eds.), Themes from Kaplan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 481-565.
- Leslie, Sara Jane. 2007. Moderately sensitive semantics. In: Gerhard Preyer and Georg Peter (eds.) Context-Sensitivity and Semantic Minimalism. New Essays on Semantics and Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 133-168.
- MacFarlane, John. Forthcoming. Assessment Sensitivity: Relative Truth and Its Applications.
- Recanati, François. 2006. Crazy Minimalism. Mind and Language 21: 21-30.
- Szabó, Zoltán. 2006. Sensitivity Training. Mind and Language 21: 31-38.
- Travis, Charles. 2006. Insensitive Semantics. Mind and Language 21: 39-49.
Publication order reference